By CCTV reporter Wu Guoxiu
One of the 84 targets of Beijing’s Air Cleaning Action plan is outdoor barbecues. The government has promised zero tolerance, and has effectively banned the practice. But some residents question the move, arguing that eating what’s commonly known in Beijing as "chuan’er" outside is an important part of life in Beijing.
A familiar sign on Beijing’s streets, for residents in the capital, eating chuan’er -- or roasted meat on skewers -- while strolling down the street is a popular nightly pastime.
Beijing resident said, "If we come with friends, we drink some beer too. The atmosphere is great, very cheerful."
However, though chuan’er is tasty, cooking it can cause quite a bit of pollution. With Beijing grappling to clear its skies of persistent dense smog, it has turned its attention on barbecue fumes.
Dang Xuefeng, Beijing City Administration & Law Enforcement Bureau, said, "Outdoor barbecuing is not allowed in public areas such as streets or squares in central Beijing, and urban regions in the suburbs."
Residents have mixed opinions on the measure. Some believe it will help improve the capital’s deteriorating air quality.
Beijing resident said, "I think barbecues had better be moved indoors. Whenever I pass by, the smell and smoke is very strong."
Yet others think that eating "chuan’er" outside is an integral part of life in Beijing, and point to the limited impact of barbecue smoke.
Beijing resident said, "Comparing with car exhaust and industrial pollution, this is a very small amount of pollution. And this is part of people’s lives, so I think they shouldn’t be banned."
Law enforcers agree that one of the biggest difficulties in banning outdoor barbecue will comes from customers. They suggest that people eat indoors, where kitchen fans can deal with the smoke.
Beijing banned outdoor barbecues way back in 2000. But there are still many barbecue stalls around the city. Some say the effective way to go about it might be for the environmental authority to inform and convince the public, how much they’ll contribute to cleaning up its air, if they give up barbecuing outdoors.